Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

The Baltimore Sun

Starring Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, Shia LaBeouf, Karen Allen Directed by Steven Spielberg Paramount Home Entertainment $29.95 (Blu-ray, $39.95) ***


More than a quarter-century after first bringing the good Dr. Jones to movie screens, Harrison Ford and director Steven Spielberg are back with a new entry. This time, it's those evil Russkies (in the person of Cate Blanchett and an accent straight out Boris and Natasha's neighborhood) doing the dirty deed. They're after a bunch of crystal skulls, talismans of extraterrestrial origin that wield all manner of world-conquering powers.

But they're not going to get them, so long as Indiana is around. And making doubly sure is his new teen sidekick, Mutt (Shia LaBeouf), whose connection to Jones is greater than either of them realizes.

There's a lot of fun being had onscreen. Ford seems especially energized to again be wearing that fedora and cracking that whip. When Allen shows up to reprise her Raiders of the Lost Ark role as Marion Ravenwood, the effect is as much therapeutic (audiences have needed to see these guys back together since 1982) as celebratory. Blanchett, meanwhile, chews the scenery with invigorating gusto, while LaBeouf struggles, usually successfully, to keep up.

A two-disc special edition ($37.95) includes a production journal and making-of feature, as well as a photo diary from producer Frank Marshall. Also available: Indiana Jones - The Complete Collection ($94.95), with both Ark and Crystal Skull, as well as 1984's Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and 1989's Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Also this week: Halloween: 30th Anniversary Commemorative Set (Anchor Bay, $89.95), which brings together not only two different versions of this definitive '70s horror flick, but also a Blu-ray edition, the 2003 documentary Halloween: 25 Years of Terror, and sequels Halloween 4: the Return of Michael Myers and Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers. Plus, you get your own mini-version of Michael Myers' mask (which buffs know was a roughed-up William Shatner mask).

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